Parents Report Significant Stress Related To Their Childrens School Future
Parents are bearing an enormous burden during the pandemic. Daily lives and routines seem to change in an instant. Many schools remain closed. Child care was discontinued abruptly and in some areas remains largely unavailable. Work situations changed rapidly: Jobs were lost, essential workers continued employment with the health and safety of their family in the balance, and for many, work was shifted into the home. This all occurred at a time when social contact was largely lost due to the recommended physical distancing guidelines.
Given the wide-reaching disruption for this part of the population, it may not be surprising to see that parents5, on average, report a higher level of stress during the past month than those who are not parents . This significant gap persists when asked specifically about their stress level related to the coronavirus pandemic .
Reflecting the strain on family and the disruption of education during the pandemic, 7 in 10 parents say family responsibilities are a significant source of stress in their life. And when it comes to their childrens school, the majority say the coronavirus pandemic made the 2019-20 school year extremely stressful for them.
How To Support Students
- Create space for students to talk about the things that are bothering them, even if those things are not related to school or schoolwork.
- Practice the rule of Three Good Things and ask your students to do the same. That is, at the end of each day, reflect on three good things that happened, large or small. This helps decrease anxiety, counter depression and build emotional resiliency.
- Take your foot off the gas and remind yourself that we are in a global pandemic. Encourage young people to do their best but give them space when they dont have the energy or motivation. Providing young people this flexibility can keep them from feeling overwhelmed.
- Find creative and safe ways for young people to socialize. Maintaining social contact is important for young people and their development, but it should be done in a way that mitigates the spread of COVID-19. Schools can help by organizing safe social interactions for students to participate in so they feel they are still part of a community.
Assess Your Level Of Anxiety
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
It looks like anxiety isn’t a problem for you at all–or is it? Worry and anxiety can be useful emotions in that they alert us to when something isn’t right in our lives, and inspire us to make changes however, excessive levels of anxiety can be harmful and counterproductive.
While it’s wonderful that you don’t allow yourself to stress over the future or ‘what-if’s, be careful that you don’t also block out the messages that anxiety can bring you be sure to tune into that inner voice that lets you know if changes need to be made, precautions taken, or potential problems avoided. Don’t start stressing over small stuff, of course, but just listen to the messages that anxiety can bring before you let it go.
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical consultation, diagnosis or treatment.
According to your responses to this self-test, you may have an unhealthy level of anxiety. Worry and anxiety can be useful emotions in that they alert us to when something isn’t right in our lives, and inspire us to make changes however, excessive levels of anxiety can be harmful and counterproductive.
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Youre Experiencing Headaches Or Stomach Aches
Headaches and digestive issues are commonly related to stress, and theres actually a lot of science behind this! When we get really stressed, our bodies can perceive that as danger and activate our fight or flight response. This response produces adrenaline, causes our heart race, and our bodies to shake. It can even slow down our digestion and restrict our blood vessels. As a result, we get headaches, stomach aches, and end up feeling exhausted.
What to do about it: Practicing mindfulness has really helped me relax before I get to the point of headaches and stomach aches. Check out: What is Mindfulness +7 Easy Ways to Practice it Daily
Massive Changes Have Led To Feeling Overwhelmed And Out Of Control
The ongoing pandemic has been a source of enormous stress and anxiety for all of us. But anxiety was on the rise long before any of us had heard of COVID-19. Diagnoses like generalized anxiety disorder were increasingly common, especially among younger people, as were depression and suicide.
The most recent poll by the American Psychological Association found the average person believes they experience an unhealthy level of stress. My own practice reflects these trends, as stress and anxiety are the leading issues for which people come to me for help.
What is behind these trends toward greater anxiety and stress? I recently spoke with psychologists Anthony Rao and Paul Napper, who explore these issues in their book, The Power of Agency. They noted that our lives have changed profoundly and our biology is struggling to keep up.
Humans havent evolved much genetically over the last 200 years, said Napper, but if you think about how people lived 200 years ago versus how we live today, its really shocking. As a result, theres a stark mismatch between how we were designed and whats demanded of us. Theres a struggle to adapt to such a different reality, Napper said.
Napper and Rao identified the following eight factors that are contributing to a constant buzz of anxiety and the feeling that were not doing enough:
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Tapping Meditation: Im Stressed About The World
Im stressed out about the world Most of us would be well served to never watch the news again. The amount of negativity, fear, and plain misinformation is terrible.
At the same time, burying your head in the sand and not having any idea whats going on in the world might not be the best move either.
So what to do? Is there a way to be informed, and to focus on the issues that matter, without getting so stressed and affected in a negative way?
I believe there isand that EFT can help.
The reality is that if we find ourselves stressed out about the planet, politics, wars, and other issues that matter to us, we are damaging our bodies and becoming less resourceful.
Getting upset about an important environmental issue doesnt do anything about the issue itself. Many of us have a false belief that nothing will change unless we become upset. The reality, however, is that we help effect change by positive actionmore than if we are worrying and stressing out about the issue.
I witnessed this reality just a few weeks ago, through a close friend who cares deeply about animals. Shed become aware of a neighbor who was mistreating many dogs and a horse. She had called the proper authorities, but for certain legal reasons, they were powerless to do anything.
Together, we tapped through the emotions surrounding the situation: her anger, feelings of powerlessness , sadness for the animals, and so forth.
Heres a brand new tapping meditation that can help!
Who Is This Stress Quiz For
Answer the quiz questions below to see if you or a loved one may be suffering from too much stress.
The questions below relate to life experiences common among people who are enduring a significant amounts of stress. Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
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Anxiety I Thought I Was Just Stressed
Stress and anxiety are related, but not synonymous states. Both are normal, adaptive responses to lifes challenges work, relationships, mortality, to name just a few and share many symptoms, including worry, stomach aches, restlessness, muscle tension, racing thoughts, headaches, sleepless nights, or all of the above.
For these reasons and more, we often use the words anxiety and stress interchangeably. Yet despite their similarities, there are important differences between the two. Determining whats going on for you is the first step towards finding relief.
You Feel Like You Work So Hard All The Time But Hardly Make Any Progress
Theres always more laundry to do and dishes to wash and food to cook. Theres always more work to do and plans to make. When your stressed, it can feel like youre constantly chasing a finish line that keeps getting further and further away.
What to do about it: Decluttering my home and your mind has been really helpful for me to get a handle on everything fighting for my attention. Although Im not a hardcore minimalist, I really love and appreciate minimalism because it allows you to focus on what truly matters, and remove what doesnt. Check out: 12 Powerful Books on Minimalism and Simple Living.
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Inform Yourself And Get Help
Visit your doctor to get a proper diagnosis. If you already take any medication, have them review your meds as they too can cause you to feel stressed and anxious.
If your doctor prescribes any drugs, be sure to do your research. Familiarise yourself with Dr Kelly Brogans work. Get advice from a licensed therapist for immediate relief.
Am I Anxious Or Just Stressed
We often use the words anxiety and stress interchangeably. Yet despite their similarities, there are important differences between the two.
- Stress is typically defined as a response to an external trigger, and can either be acute or chronic .
- Anxiety, unlike stress, is often triggered internally by excessive thoughts judgments about the past, worries about the future, and so on.
- When left unchecked, both stress and anxiety can escalate into more severe mental health conditions, and anxiety disorders.
- Determining whats going on for you is the first step towards finding relief.
Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here.
Youre working on a deadline when your boss pings you. Its 3 pm and he wants to know if you have time to help with a project thats due by 5. You dont, not really you still havent eaten lunch. Its kind of urgent, he explains, apologizing for the late notice. A pit settles in your stomach, and your thoughts begin to race. Of course, you reply. Id be happy to help. Its not like saying no would be any less stressful.
In your head, a voice quickly pipes in to remind you of how poorly you work under pressure. Remember last time, that panic attack? You cant prepare an entire deck in two days, let alone two hours! Imagine how easy this would be for your coworkers. Why cant you be more like them? Face it: youre probably going to be stuck at this job forever.
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How Can We Avoid Stress
Experiencing stress from time to time is normal, but it is important to prevent stress build up that leads to high levels of stress and possibly burnout. Some simple ways to avoid stress include finding effective ways to balance all your responsibilities, getting enough sleep, not taking on too much, eating a healthy diet, and taking part in physical activity.
Signs You Have Anxiety Not ‘just’ Stress
The words stress and anxiety are often used interchangeably. On the surface, this makes sense. Stress can make you feel anxiety after all, and symptoms of the two tend to overlap: the racing thoughts, the pumping heart, the rising panic.
But when you tell someone you struggle with anxiety, its frustrating when they respond with, Yeah, Ive been stressed too. Because while stress can cause anxiety not all anxiety is caused by stress. Thats an important distinction. Unlike stress, anxiety doesnt always have a specific cause. Unlike stress, anxiety doesnt simply go away when youre not in a stressful situation. While Im not stressed on a relaxing Saturday, for example, I sure can get anxious.
To understand the difference between stress and anxiety, we asked our community to share their experiences with both. While of course, stress is serious, and can really affect someones health, anxiety needs to be taken just as seriously. Even when we dont get the cause, we need to have just as much compassion. We hope you can share this piece with someone who doesnt understand.
Heres what our community shared with us:
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You Spend Too Much Time On Social Media
While the use of social media relates to screen time, it in and of itself carries a slew of adverse effects on ones mental health and stress levels. Remember, stress is a triggered response, and social media has been found to induce stress in different ways.
Social media causes us to compare. Whether consciously or subconsciously, the inundation of images of people who look better, sound better or seem better than how you perceive yourself causes us incredible anxiety and feelings of low self-esteem. Social media gives you images of peoples happiest and most put-together moments, which can lead to unrealistic expectations of our own lives, which ultimately causes undue stress.
One of the darker sides of social media is that it is highly addicting. Social media has been proven to be both psychologically and physically addicting. Like any addiction, when you are without the source, your body and brain enter withdrawal symptoms. Being removed from social media, if you are addicted, can cause you to experience feelings of stress and anxiety.
In a strange twist, the act of trying to stop using social media as often and not being able to is another direct cause of stress. Many people attempt to limit or stop using social media to reduce stress, only to find that they are more stressed than before. This is a red flag that you are addicted to social media and should consult with your physician.
Spotting Stress: Signs To Watch Out For
How can you tell if your child struggles with stress? You may think youd know, but thats not always the case, says Carrie Bashoff Spindel, PhD, clinical assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. Stress and anxiety in children often goes unrecognized because its a quiet disorder. Kids go inwards — they dont act out in school, so they dont get noticed because they’re not disruptive.
Watch for these signs:
- Acting unusually irritable or moody
- Unexplained changes in school performance
- Withdrawing from friends
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Reduce A Worrys Power Over You
One very effective way to reduce a worrys power over you is by getting the negative thoughts out of your head and on to paper. Being able to see the worry in black and white helps give you more perspective.
Study your worries by keeping a Worry Diary.
Write down what you fear might happen and then later write down if what you were worried about actually happened, whether it was as bad as you expected, and what you did to cope with the situation.
This will help you understand your worries better, distinguish between worries that are useful and those that are useless, and help you realize that you can cope no matter what happens.
- Set aside some time during the day to worry your worry time. Select a time every day that is convenient for you and pick a suitable amount of time to worry . Use this time to think about your worries and about possible resolutions. It can be helpful to write things down. It will take time to train yourself not to dwell on worries at other times of the day or night.
- Practice is key here. What you can do if you worry outside of the set aside time is to write the worry down and put it in a worry box . Then, when its your official worry time, you can look at your worries and deal with them appropriately.
I hope you find these 6 tips useful. If you would like to read more about ways to overcome anxiety and worrying please take a look at my free booklet.
When clients first come in to see me, the main concerns that come up again and again are:
Does Acute Stress Disorder Go Away
Acute stress disorder is a short-term condition and symptoms usually go away over time. Consult with your doctor about the most effective form of treatment for ASD. Treatment may include a psychiatric evaluation, therapy, and medications. Many people with ASD are later diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder .
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What Causes High Stress Levels
Anything that puts high demands or pressure on you can result in high stress levels, especially if you struggle to manage feelings of stress. Some common stressors that can lead to high levels of stress include high-pressure jobs, financial difficulties, taking on too much, conflicts at work or home, and failure to take time to relax.
Decreased Energy And Insomnia
Chronic fatigue and can also be caused by prolonged stress.
For example, one study of 2,483 people found that fatigue was strongly associated with increased stress levels .
Stress may also disrupt sleep and cause insomnia, which can lead to low energy.
One small study found that higher levels of work-related stress were associated with increased sleepiness and restlessness at bedtime .
Another study of 2,316 participants showed that experiencing a higher number of stressful events was significantly associated with an increased risk of insomnia .
These studies show an association, but they dont account for other factors that may have played a role. Further research is needed to determine if stress can directly cause decreased energy levels.
Other factors that may play a role in decreased energy levels include dehydration, low blood sugar, a poor diet or an underactive thyroid.
Summary Stress is associated with fatigue and disruptions in sleep, which may result in decreased energy levels.
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